The Partisans – 1981-84 – 3xCD (Cherry Red Records)

Three CD retrospective of the Cornelly/Bridgend legends featuring the band’s debut Self-Titled album, 1984’s Time Was Right and an album of rarities recorded between ’81 and ’84.    

Raw and fully of youthful energy – it’s easy to see why The Partisans were lumped in with the nascent Oi scene of the early 80s, especially on tracks like No U Turns, Arms Race (both of which featured on Bushell’s Carry On Oi comp) and 17 Years of Hell, although in hindsight there’s a touch of Crass to Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

The aptly titled Time Was Right contains seven studio tracks (including my personal favourite Partisans track ‘Blind Ambition’) and six live tracks, and features future Transvision Vamp and Bush bassist Dave Parsons. The studio tracks are a more polished, and dare I say it restrained sounding affair compared to the brash and boisterous first album, with a more Punk and less Oi disposition. Some of the tracks such The Money Rolls In whilst more mature and professional sounding, lack the urgency of the bands earlier material. Although it’s fair to say things ramp up a bit on the live tracks.

Unsurprisingly the Rarities CD contains a slew of singles and compilation album tracks, previously unreleased studio demos and alternative mixes including the Carry On Oi versions of No U Turns and Arms Race, Don’t Blame Us, Bastards In Blue, the Business like Come Clean and the classic 7” single Police Story which was reissued by Canadian label Ugly Pop back in 2013.

In keeping with other releases in this series the package contains a twenty page booklet containing rare pics, reviews and press clippings from the period. An ideal Partisans starter kit for the uninitiated or for those 82 Punks and Skins who sold off their vinyl for glue. Ian Pickens


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